Chive Dolmades American Style

Chives Dolmades Image

I came up with this recipe one early summer day when I was confronted with the rapid growth of my grape vines curling onto the neighbor's fence. My neighbors don't particularly like the invasion of my wine grapes, so I have to prune them perhaps a bit more often than I otherwise would. I realized there ought to be something I could do with all the extra leaves, also I have a super-abundance of chives in the garden. What could be a better combination?

How to wrap chives dolmades.

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh grape leaves
1 cup rice
1 lb chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried cilantro
1 cup chopped chives
20 chive stems
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt to taste

Directions:

Find grape leaves of about medium size. Boil water and blanch fresh grape leaves briefly, about one minute. Remove the leaves and spread on a towel. Cook rice as per instructions on package. Chop chicken into very small pieces (1/4 - 1/2 inch chunks). Fry chicken in cast iron pan in olive oil, adding pepper, garlic, basil, and cilantro directly to the frying chicken to make the spices stick to the meat. Fry the chicken until meat is slightly browned.

To the cast-iron frying pan add cooked rice, the chopped chives, sage, and thyme. Stir until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Now lay the grape leaves out on an open counter space. Place a dollop of stuffing mix on top of a grape leaf as shown on the photo at left. Roll the bottom up; curl the top down; fold the sides under and wrap a chive leaf around the dolmade. Place in glass baking pan. Stuff as many leaves as you can. You will find that you can only put about a tablespoon in each leaf. Each dolmade will be the equivalent of about 2 bites.

It is likely that you will have stuffing left over. This should be packed around the dolmades. Pour about 1/4 cup of water into dish and cover tightly with foil. Place in oven for 1/2 hour at 375° Fahrenheit (191° Celsius). Dolmades can be served plain with a vegetable. Or make up a nice cucumber sauce to pour over dolmades. This can be done by adding one cup yogurt to 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumbers, and 1/2 teaspoon dried dill. The cucumber sauce should be ladled on by the guest to his or her own taste.

Next Page: Buttered Noodles and Chives Recipe

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